Duel or Honor and Ownership of Sarc
“Am I to understand, Lady Aluora, you are accusing me of falsifying an official record? You are tainting my honor by saying I am lying!” Zera said, her hand resting on her sheathed sword’s hilt, her voice cold and solemn.
“Hold!” Queen Aquisha commanded. “Lady Aluora, I propose you should reconsider what you have said while it can still be retracted gracefully as a misunderstanding. For if you continue, you must comprehend where it will lead. I will not go to war over this issue with a system of worlds with which we are at peace, for a man to whom you do not have legal claim.”
Aluora started to speak.
“Hold I say! Bring this man forward so Lady Zera may see him.”
Long minutes past while they waited for Sarc’s arrival; Zera and Aluora watched each other, gauging. But Zera listened to the court around her, alive with nervous chatter. She overheard pieces of conversations. The Luithian people knew of her worlds. Her reputation as a skilled swordswoman preceded her and some commented on the sword she wore. News of their troubles with Kudious’ pirates and the subsequent marriage of her and Sarc hadn’t reached them until today. Zera’s intuition warned her, combined with the bits of gossip she overheard, that Aluora knew and had been in collusion with Kudious.
She marked that Aluora flinched when her perusal intensified. Their stare-down was interrupted when a small commotion signaled the arrival of the male in question, escorted by two female guards.
Zera’s heart leapt when Sarc entered the room. Her relief at finding him alive was so great, she wanted to run to him and embrace him. Protocol stopped her, and his demeanor and garb shocked her. Suppressing her exuberance, next she had to quell the urge to laugh at how he was displayed.
Sarc was garbed in a simple leather loin belt, the bulk of his perfect body displayed. She wondered if the lack of clothing embarrassed him. On the other hand, she rather liked it. A leather cup covered his genitals, held in place by a thin leather strap tied around his waist and supported by a thong between his butt cheeks. She remembered his words to her about dressing her in similar attire;
“I find the vision of you scantily clad, your beautiful breasts bound in leather straps with others pressing uncomfortably on your sex and up between the cheeks of your ripe buttocks…a fetching picture.”
He stood, as instructed, in the center of the throne room, his head lowered, and his gaze down. His behavior was not that of the commanding High Lord of Seti-Cronus and Alphxorn.
Zera assumed an imposing and dominating posture. With both hands on her hips, she boldly walked around him. His head remained lowered but he glanced at her. His golden gaze seared her heart. Zera knew his amnesia was an act.
Their minds touched. She stopped before him, and roughly raised his chin to gaze into his eyes, but they remained down.
“Look at me!” she commanded. Their gazes met.
She smiled confidentially. “It’s him! This is my husband.” Zera’s voice betrayed her excitement at having found her love. Her words were defined, indisputable so there was no misunderstanding. “Sar—” she began to address him by name.
Aluora pushed through a few members of the court and brazenly strode up to Zera before she could address him by name.
“I say you lie!” Aluora slapped Zera in the face.
Out of the corner of her eye, Zera saw Sarc flinch but he kept his head down.
Zera’s face didn’t move from the slap despite Aluora’s strike being hard, leaving a reddened hand print. Zera affixed Aluora with a challenging stare.
Zera’s gaze shifted to Queen Aquisha. “I came to Luitha to find my husband and brought unquestionable proof. I came in peace, and brought your long-lost granddaughter. On my world Lady Leila is a welcomed and honored member of my court. She is considered part of the royal family, a brave and valiant heroine. Now I am insulted and my honor questioned by your…” she looked at Aluora like she was vermin, “…heir?”
Zera’s stare became so intense, her manner so coolly commanding, no one noticed she’d removed the glove from her sword hand. She looked back at Lady Aluora. “Very well then,” Zera snarled low and dangerously, striking Aluora across her face with her glove hard enough to mark the woman’s coarse complexion. “The challenge is offered and I have accepted. Do we settle this now, or will you appoint a future time, your Majesty?” Zera asked, still looking Aluora in the eyes. Aluora flinched and looked away. Zera suspected Aluora didn’t know, but by doing so she had already lost the duel.
“Lady Zera is within her rights, Lady Aluora. Daughter or not, heir or not, you will meet Lady Zera at eight in the morning on the field of honor to decide this issue. Lady Zera, my herald will escort you to the field. This will not be a duel to the death. Do you understand, Lady Aluora?” Queen Aquisha demanded of her daughter. “First blood will be sufficient or until one is disarmed.”
“By your command, Majesty,” Zera answered. She snapped her boots together to bow from the waist. Though the instructions were given to Aluora, Zera gave them credibility and respect.
Aluora, however, didn’t answer promptly and the queen pressed her again. “Aluora!”
“Yes, my Queen!”
“Because Lady Aluora has challenged the validity of the disk and Lady Zera’s claim, this matter of honor will be settled on the field of honor. Regardless of positive proof, Aluora, as a citizen of Luitha has the right of challenge. Until the matter is settled the man will be held in neutral territory. He is not to be taken back to Lady Aluora’s. Quarter him in my bodyguard’s private barracks. Guards, take the man in question away. And by the stars! Give him some clothes… Aluora we will discuss you presenting him in such a manner later,” Aquisha rebuked her. Zera watched the dynamics between Queen and heir; mother and daughter.
Hope you’ve all enjoyed the excerpts! Just a small taste of Blood of the Ruby Throne.
Good night to all and Have A Great Summer!